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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

QAnon, Antivaxxers, and the GOP: The Case of Colorado

 In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread  And among those diseases could be COVID-19.

UnfortunatelyRepublican politicians are increasingly joining up with the anti-vaxxers.  Recent examples include a member of the House COVID subcommittee and a crackpot who is seeking the party's US Senate nomination in Ohio.

Erik Maulbetsch at The Colorado Times-Recorder:
Speaking to a crowd of anti-vaccine activists and QAnon followers at Saturday’s Worldwide Rally for Freedom, Colorado state Rep. Tonya Van Beber (R-Eaton) told the conspiracy theorists, “I’m begging you! I’m imploring you! You must continue to broadcast the facts!”

Organized by Colorado Rising Up, a state chapter of the global “Worldwide Demonstration Movement,” the event, which focused largely on anti-vaccine and anti-mask messages and attracted about 250 anti-vaccine activists, conspiracy theorists, Trump supporters, and militia members to the Colorado Capitol.


 Van Beber lambasted Democrats for voting down her bill that would have banned employers- including hospitals and other health care providers- from requiring employees be vaccinated. She framed it as preventing discrimination and, quoting Orwell, predicted that its failure proves state is now on a path towards tyranny.


QAnon conspiracies have proved disturbingly popular among Colorado Republicans. Congresswoman Lauren Boebert is the most prominent official to have publicly promoted the group’s messages, but not the only one. Former statehouse candidate Vanessa DeMott promoted one of the most extreme conspiracies- that an online furniture company was actually selling children as sex slaves, during her campaign. DeMott lost her race bit still made it to the Capitol, where she now works as Rep. Van Beber’s legislative aide.